Motif Restaurant at St. Regis Monarch Beach
My husband and I recently stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California for a little “staycation” trip to celebrate, among other things, my husband’s birthday. During our trip there, we had the chance to dine at the amazing Stonehill Tavern restaurant for dinner. The morning we checked out of the hotel, we decided to join in their Sunday brunch at the Motif Restaurant. The restaurant is a European-style cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating is on the terrace that looks out over the grounds of the resort including the main lawn, the pool, and then beyond that the 18-hole championship golf course, and beyond that Monarch Beach itself and the Pacific Ocean. Sunday brunch at Motif is one of the most popular events for weekend guests at the hotel. So, why not live like kings while we’re staying at the resort?
On the Sunday we were at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, it wasn’t a Sunday Brunch like the Motif’s traditional Sunday Brunch, it was Mother’s Day, so the restaurant jazzed up their standard fare for a special Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch. Having spoken to one of the staff at the restaurant, he indicated to me that an average Sunday Brunch garners about 150-200 guests between the hours of 11:30 am – 2:00 pm. For the Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch, Motif extended it’s hours from 10 am – 4 pm and were expecting to serving just about 1,000 guests! Wow! And I can attest to the fact that it was a very busy event.
With our noontime reservations, even though the restaurant was busy, we were seated right away. The first thing I noticed at Motif was the service! Not once did our drink glasses get more than half empty that they were refilled. Every time we got up to get more food, our napkins were re-folded for us. Each time we were done with our plates, they were cleared away immediately! What attention to detail. We were lucky to get a seat indoors, right in the heart of the action, closest to all of the food stations and right next to the doors that lead out onto the patio and even more food stations! There was every kind of luxurious food you can think of being served for brunch!
One of my favorite stations was the outdoor Asian station! There were chef’s there cooking all types of Asian food right before your very eyes. There was an ever popular Indian section where they grilled naan bread, made curries, and had samosas. My favorite was the Japanese tempura shrimp and vegetables. You can never go wrong with tempura, right? Batter and deep fry vegetables, a great way to get your daily serving of greens! There was also a Chinese section where there was a variety of dim sum items inside of bamboo baskets, including shrimp dumplings, shu mai and bbq pork buns! And at the very end of the station was a Mongolian stir fry station where they made noodles to order just for you with all sorts of vegetables!
As this was a brunch, meaning breakfast and lunch, there were a bunch of breakfast menu items. My husband went for the eggs benedict, which he loves, straight away! He even had seconds because they were so good! There was, of course, bacon and sausage as well. And there was an egg station making made-to-order omelets with all sorts of vegetables and protein items to choose from. And there was a pastry station with all sorts of croissants and danishes and Belgian waffles with toppings to select from. Since it was noontime, I opted to go more towards lunch-type items rather than breakfast-y items.
However, there was one breakfast station I couldn’t pass up, the pancakes and French toast station. Fresh made pancakes and French toast made the way you order with all sorts of fresh fruit, dried fruit, sweets, and candy options to use at toppings! Oreos, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and bananas, Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, it was a like an ice cream bar, but for pancakes and French toast. And of course, there was fresh whipped cream, and chocolate whipped cream, and even strawberry whipped cream, and powered sugar, and maple syrup and all the yummy things you probably shouldn’t be eating! But, as one of the chef’s working at Motif told me, it’s Mother’s Day, there’s no such thing as calories on Mother’s Day! Oh, if only that was true!
If you were looking for something lighter, there was a nice selection of salads. There was the standard make-your-own salad with various greens, toppings, and dressings. There were a few prepared salads, and then there were these cute little individual salads, including one that my husband really liked that was topped with a nice piece of seared ahi tuna!
Next to the salad selection was the cheese and charcuterie section. Brie and blue cheese, and salami and prosciutto, really, is there much better than a charcuterie and cheese selection with a varied selection of breads and crackers? Yum!
Like any good buffet, you’ve got to have a carving station. Not breakfast food, but since this is brunch, and it can include lunch food, then you’ve got to have your standard carving station. At the Motif, the carving station included a whole salmon and a beautifully cooked prime rib with all of the fixings! I didn’t get a shot of any of it, but there was also chafing dishes with plenty of amazing food as well – including one I really liked, sweet basil mashed potatoes! But there was also various fish dishes, and prime steak dishes, and vegetarian dishes to choose from.
One of the most popular sections of the brunch was the seafood section! Because it’s brunch, you’ve got to have your selection of breakfast seafood. What kind of seafood can you have for breakfast?? What about smoked salmon and gravlax? And if you’re not sure what the difference between smoked salmon and gravlax is, like me who had to look it up, smoked salmon is just that, it’s salmon that’s been smoked, whereas gravlax is raw salmon that is cured in salt, sugar and dill. Learn something new everyday! With the smoked salmon and the gravlax come the usual fixings, the diced/minced onion, the dill sauce and the capers among others. On top of the smoked salmon and gravlax, there was also really delicious seared ahi tuna!
There was also a selection of ahi tuna tartar and poke. Poke being something that I don’t generally see at a buffet. There’s also a great selection of fresh ceviches as well.
One of the most popular stations was the fresh seafood – the Dungeness crab claws, the chilled jumbo shrimp and the raw oysters. Of course served with the proper sauce accompaniments. I definitely took advantage of the crab claws! Yum! Generally most places serve lots of crab legs, where its hard to get the crab meat out versus having crab claws where all the meat can be found. The oysters seemed to be very popular with most of the guests.
Sushi and sashimi were both very popular at the brunch as well. There was everything from California rolls to tuna rolls along with the traditional fixings of wasabi, soy sauce and picked ginger.
Of course, you can’t have a buffet without dessert. There was a whole section of the Motif Restaurant devoted just to dessert, and decadent ones too! Sweet mini crème brulees, mini pistachio eclairs, earl gray panna cotta and champagne gelee just to mention a few items. They even had made-to-order crepes with fresh berries, nutella, bananas, and other toppings along with fresh whipped cream. So delicious.
At the end of the meal, each woman in the dining room received a long stem rose in honor of Mother’s Day along with a goody bag filled with a few more sweet treats for the road. What a terrific and decadent brunch. Probably the most decadent brunch I’ve ever been too. Unfortunately, I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I didn’t have the chance to try all the things I wanted to try. But, oh man, was it good!